GAINZ (With a Z): Pre and Post Workout Nutrition

Raw eggs and tuna fish… ALL DAY!

Cliff Notes:

Our baseline nutrition habit is eat every two to four hours. Eating frequently helps you get a more appropriate amount of protein, veggies and fat in your diet as opposed to three square meals. 
When it comes to eating before your workout, it’s a process of trial and error. In terms of food, stick to things you trust. If it doesn’t repeat on you, it’s the right decision. In terms of timing, assess when you will be able to eat next.
After your workout, we encourage people to eat within an hour of your workout. Include a starchy vegetable or carb and a protein. In the end, if you have eaten in the last 2-4 hours, you may not be hungry, and that’s ok. Just be prepared when that next 2-4 hour mark hits so you can nourish your body.

Sometimes the littlest details become our biggest obstacles. One of those things for some people is eating around a workout. There’s so much conflicting information that they feel handcuffed. 

What and when do I eat to MAXIMIZE my GAINZ (with a z)? 

The first thing to address is consistency. If you’re not making it to the gym, there’s no pre and post workout. Stop reading now. Starting out, just make sure you get to the gym. The first month, we encourage people to make RD a part of their weekly routine. Once that happens, building nutrition habits is the next focus.

Our baseline habit is eating every two to four hours. Most of the time, people don’t have a problem eating too much, it’s not eating enough. If people consistently “starve” themselves, their metabolism will slow down to conserve calories. Eating consistently isn’t a necessity to make progress, but it makes getting the appropriate amount of nutrition… more… digestible.

Let’s say you’re dominating eating every two to four hours, we can start to address your pre and post workout nutrition. Focus on foods that you’re comfortable with over what’s “optimal.” If a food repeats on you or makes you feel nauseous, that’s bad. Remember you still want to have a good workout. The most important thing is that you’re getting fuel and it’s not negatively affecting your workout. Don’t eat so close that you're nauseous, but not so far before that you’re crashing. In all reality, if you’re eating every two to four hours each day and getting enough energy, then that “exact” timing before the workout is not that important. Until it is…

What does your post workout look like? Lets do some math: If you eat 2 hours before you workout (2 hours), then you have an hour workout (3 hours) and you eat a half hour later (3 1/2 hours), you still fall into that 2-4 hour range. On the flip side, take the same scenario. If you’re not cognizant of the timing, and can’t eat until 2 hours after your workout, that wouldn’t be optimal timing. Bottom line is, each day could be different, so you have to plan accordingly.

When it comes to strength training and fat loss, let how frequently you eat guide your pre and post workout meal timing.  Advanced sports nutrition strategies are not necessary, until you own the basic nutrition and recovery habits. If you need more information on our general guidelines, click here.